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Peebles – Worth The Trip From Edinburgh
If you’re planning a wee break in Peebles, you’re in for a treat. This bustling market town will woo you with its charms, including its enviable position on the River Tweed. Designated the “Top Independent Retailing Town in Scotland”, there’s no shortage of shops to pique your interest. Pick up some knitwear for the damp Scottish weather, or bring home a crystal vase as a reminder of your trip, but whatever you do, don’t miss out on the local, authentic small town shopping experience that Peebles provides. When it’s time to get out and explore, the possibilities for fun in the fresh air are endless.
Learn Something New in Peebles
Peebles is more than your average town. Not only does it have an impressive amount of B&Bs, hotels, and vacation rentals for its size, it also has a long list of arts and culture destinations worth checking out. The Chambers Institution is a good place to get your bearings while learning something new. It’s a museum, gallery and library all rolled into one, making for a comprehensive introduction to the history of Peebles. The equally interesting John Buchan Story Museum should be considered another must-see stop on your itinerary. The museum celebrates the life and times of one of Scotland’s most popular writers, and visitors will be treated to the engrossing history of the author of The 39 Steps, in addition to learning about Buchan’s varied contributions to society. When you’re ready for a change of pace, the Moy Mackay Gallery is not only easy on the eyes, but offers visitors the possibility to take an original work of art home with them. Rotating exhibits are nicely complimented by jewelry, pottery and other original creations, also for sale. For a cosy night in, consider the Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre, which is just what the doctor ordered for a world-class fix of theatre, dance, comedy, and music.
Go Outdoors to Get a Real Taste of Peebles
When the sun is shining in Peebles, there’s no better way to get to know the area than by visiting the many castles and gardens waiting to be discovered. Chances are you won’t have to travel far from your hotel to get to Neidpath Castle, which sits a few minutes west of town in the Scotland Borders. Tours need to be arranged ahead of time, but it’s well worth it to walk the castle halls that date as far back as 1190. Don’t forget to tour the grounds and pay a visit to the River Tweed while you are there. Traquair House is another impressive former residence with a colourful, extensive history. Once a former hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland, it has had several incarnations since its original purpose. Plan to spend several hours here to take in the outdoor maze, craft workshops, well-manicured grounds, and the popular Traquair House Brewery for a refreshing pint. A visit to Peebles should also include a visit to either Dawyck Botanic Garden or Kailzie Gardens, but it would be hard to choose which one to stop and smell the roses at. Dawyck Botanic Garden has 65 acres of plants and shrubs that will be sure to delight, in particular vegetation from as far away as Nepal and Chile. Kailzie Gardens has a smaller footprint, but boasts an Osprey protection program and offers the opportunity to see many species of birds in their natural habitat.
Explore the Charms of the Area
If you need some exercise to offset the meat pies and shortbread that might have made their way onto your plate a little too frequently, Glentress Forest will provide the perfect outing. Mountain biking enthusiasts will find over 60 km of trails to play around on, and there are five walking trails that showcase the beauty of the forest. The Tweed Valley Railway Path presents another opportunity to burn some calories. It’s a multi-use former railway line that follows the River Tweed, and is a great choice for the whole family to get some fresh air. It’s also possible to reach the neighbouring town, Interleithen, from this route, which is just over 9 km away. If you prefer to stay a little closer to home, the Peebles Town Walk will take you about two hours to complete, and is a great way to see the town while getting out and about. When you’re feeling a little better about your exercise routine, perhaps it’s time to reward yourself at the Cocoa Black Chocolate and Pastry School. Cakes, pastries, and of course chocolate, will be too tempting to resist, and it will be hard to pass up a treat from one of the UK’s World Chocolate Masters. You can even take a confectionary making class, which could be a sweet ending to your time in pretty Peebles.